The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on Tuesday said that it is not the duty of the commission to verify credentials submitted by their candidates of various political parties, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, disclosed this yesterday in an interview with Journalists in Abuja.
The CPS, Idowu when asked whether it was the commission that should carry out verification on the General Muhammadu Buhar’s(rtd) credentials which he claimed it was with the Secretary to the Military Board, Idowu said; “I won’t speak on individual. I can only speak in general term. No, I won’t comment on individual candidate on this issue. You can’t quote me on that.
Speaking further Idowu said; “When parties file their nominees, the law requires that INEC should display those nominees for claims and objections. If objections are made to those claims, the commissions revert back to the political parties because the statutory mandate is on the parties to nominate their candidates and not to allow INEC to choose their candidates for them. INEC would have to revert back to the political parties to say ‘there is a challenge to the credentials that you have filed to the criteria that you have cited for any particular nominee, so do the needful by addressing it, either by verifying it and see whether it is true or by showing that it is not true and sort it out.”
“It is their job; they sort it out before they bring their nominees to the commission. So, the commission has no role in disqualifying candidates.”
On the issue of what will the commission do if a person didn’t not submit his credentials as required by law, he said; “I don’t see any basis of that objection. It is not only in INEC, everywhere, sometimes, you submit affidavit. It is not new, you can submit affidavit, attestation in place of the original certificate. If there is a challenge to what the commission has, the commission reverts back to the party because the commission does not even have the capacity to reject candidates. For now, I am not aware of any issue you are raising now that the commission will revert back to the party.”
He said; “All the credentials are required to submit they have to submit. Don’t put words in my mouth. We don’t have this situation only in INEC. Moreover, it happens everywhere, people submit affidavits. It is not new. You submit affidavits, attestations in place of original certificates. Even for your NYSC certificate, you submit an affidavit where you don’t have the original.”
According to him he said that there are no challenge that the commission is facing over the issue, he added further as he asked; “Are you the one challenging? Let us not preempt issues that have not come up. I don’t think INEC can be anticipatory because it has not arisen.”
On the issue of which certificates Buhari presented during the previous elections he said; “I cannot speak on individual candidates. It is better for people to abuse me on this one than for INEC to be drawn into partisan squabbles. INEC does not screen candidates because INEC does not reject candidates. INEC sees what they have submitted, displays them for claims and objections if there are any and takes it up with the parties.”